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Animal Zombies!

Hello Friends!

This is the cover of a book that Chana Stiefel wrote for kids!  I won a copy of “Animal Zombies” from Maria Marshall’s blog called The Picture Book Buzz. Here is a link where you can read her interview with Chana. https://www.mariacmarshall.com/single-post/2018/08/24/The-Picture-Book-Buzz—Interview-with-Chana-Stiefel I hope you enjoy it. You can find more links to Chana’s various pages at the end of this written interview.

When I won this book, I told Chana and Maria I would do a review of it on my blog. I read it last month, but just hadn’t made the time to do that until now. But we all know how much stuff I juggle around and how easily distracted I can get! 😉

Here is what I wrote for a review on Goodreads:

” ‘Animal Zombies!’ is a fantastic book! It is a soft-covered National Geographic magazine for kids. The photos are very close-up and personal! There are facts about bloodsuckers and various deep sea creatures your kids may never have heard of. There are also several stories about different scientists who do fascinating research. (And I might add it is over 90 pages long!)

I wish this had come out when my kids were little. If you have children who love to read about “gross” things some creatures do, your kids will love this book!

This book can make you feel squeamishly excited to learn.”

So there you have it! It really is fascinating information. If you have children or grandchildren, you can get buy it for someone special at Amazon.com.

Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

 

The Collaborative work of E. H. Shepard and A. A. Milne

Hello Friends,

Today I want to share with you a snapshot into the lives of children’s book illustrator, E. H. Shepard, and writer, A. A. Milne, from the fascinating book I’ve been reading called, “The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood,” by Kathryn Aalto.

E. H. Shepard’s mother was Harriet Jessie Lee. She had grown up with an artist father. Therefore, she encouraged her son’s interest in drawing by providing notebooks and pencils for him to carry with him wherever he went. Kathryn Aalto says on page 57, “Through time, he developed a photographic memory for drawing scenes, events, and gestures.”

Shepard experienced a happy childhood with his parents and two older siblings until he was eleven. But Aalto says on page 58, “One day his mother, bedridden for months, bid the children a cheery goodbye for what they perhaps thought was a short trip to visit his aunts. Not much later, she died…Shepard said that he felt his childhood ended then.”

However, in his grief his love of drawing became “an outlet of expression for him.” (Page 58) His suffering aided him in being able to express emotions in the characters he drew. Kathryn observes this underlying grief when she notes, “Consider the way he portrays a contemplative or bewildered Pooh bear or a timid Piglet trying to be brave.” His mediums of choice were pencil, pen and ink, and black crayons. As you can see in his drawings of A. A. Milne’s characters, he “favored cross-hatching, fine line, or crayon,” (Page 61.)

In 1926, Shepard traveled to visit Milne’s stomping grounds and walk with him through Ashdown Forest. Not only did this land inspire Milne’s stories, it also became the inspiration for Shepard’s drawings. Aalto says on page 61, “The bee tree, Wol’s tree, Galleons Lap, and the Enchanted Place were real places Shepard interpreted…”

All of the characters in Winnie-the-Pooh were drawn from Christopher Robin’s real stuffed animals. But that “silly old bear,” as the fictional Christopher Robin called Pooh, was created from Growler. Growler was a stuffed bear that belonged to Shepard’s son, Graham. He studied and sketched how the boys played with their stuffed animals which eventually became his art for the books.

In my humble opinion, the collaboration of A. A. Milne’s writing and E. H. Shepard’s illustrations has been one of the greatest gifts bestowed on our world. These two men were definitely destined to meet, and the world over has forever been blessed by their incredible work.

I know my own childhood was enriched by Winnie-the-Pooh and all of his friends who lived in The Hundred Acre Wood. I am thankful to Kathryn Aalto for writing such a lovely book! I haven’t finished it yet, because I am savoring the beauty of her writing and photography, as well as the photography many others. I highly recommend it for an enjoyable read!

Here is a drawing I did of one of my favorite scenes from “Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day.” Pooh is about to go through Eeyore’s house he just finished building because he (Pooh) is holding onto Piglet’s scarf which has unraveled leaving Piglet in the sky.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug. 🙂

Art Journal Mantra

Hello Friends!

I doodled this with the same markers that I drew my crazy cat Christmas tree with – my Arteza Brush Pens. They are easier on my arm than drawing in pencil or painting with brushes. They are a fun tool to have around to doodle with, for sure!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 😀

Winnie-the-Pooh Drawing in Pen

Hello Friends!

Here is a drawing I did in pen in my art journal that I copied from a book called “The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, A Walk Through the forest that inspired the Hundred Acre Wood” by Kathryn Aalto. This drawing is on page 165 in the book. But I didn’t do an exact replica. The trees are different in mine and I obviously need to practice drawing these sweet chracters from my childhood memories! This is Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger, in the story from “In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath” (Winnie-the-Pooh)

I love the original drawings of E. H. Shepard. He created all of the characters after observing Christopher Robin’s real stuffed animals. It also amazes me that A. A. Milne used his son’s real name in his stories. Also, apparently, Milne’s wife, Dorothy, nicknamed Daphne, “was the first person to give voices and personalities to the characters who would call the Hundred Acre Wood home.” (pg. 41 of this book)

The photos in this book of the real places that Milne used as inspiration for his stories are beautiful! What a gorgeous place he had to live and write!

The last part of her book is “A Visitor’s Guide-The Flora and Fauna of Ashdown Forest.” The photos are awesome!

If you loved Winnie-the-Pooh as much as I did as a child (and STILL DO,) then I highly recommend this book! I still have all of the VHS tapes of the various Pooh cartoons that were on t.v. when I was a kid. Our kids watched them and I have the more modern stories made in the early 2000’s.

Strangely, though, we never got around to reading the original books to the kids. I didn’t read them growing up either! Not sure how that happened. But I did have record albums of some of the stories that I used to listen to over and over. I wish I still had those!

So that’s all for now. I need to work out and clean some before the kids come over this weekend.

What are some of your favorite stories from childhood? I am curious!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 😀

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Penny Parker Klostermann

I AM FINISHED!

Hello Friends!

It was a busy week for me last week! But I finished my writing course on Thursday night. Yesterday, I got back my last assignment, which my instructor loved, and encouraged me to submit to magazines. It was my leafy sea dragon article.

I felt kind of antsy all weekend, though. So I attended a free webinar I had learned about through Children’s Book Academy. The two instructors who were teaching in this webinar are going to be my instructors! This course is called The Craft & Business of Illustrating Children’s Books.

Illustration is the other thing I have always wanted to do. The good thing is that this course is only five weeks long so I will be busy with something every day, I am sure! But I am super excited!!

Here is a link if you are interested in checking it out!  http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/illustrating-childrens-books.html

The discounted offer for this course also came with other FREE GOODIES! So, I will be learning hand lettering and calligraphy, photo shop stuff for art, and other great things!

Later this week I plan to work on the cat painting for a friend of mine who lives in Canada. It will be a late birthday present. I am looking forward to that.

It looks like I will be pretty busy until the end of September so I may only be trying to post once a week here. I miss doing my blog almost every day, but once I learn some more cool stuff, I will begin sharing it with you!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

 

 

 

TAKING A BREAK!

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to let all of you know that I am going to be taking a break for a week or so while I get my last writing assignment done.

There is also a whole lot of other stuff going on. The Carr Fire in Redding, CA, was only about 40 miles away from us. However, it didn’t reach the downtown area or the city itself, just the outskirts. Unfortunately, we do know people who have lost their homes or are still evacuated. So it has been a very scary week here.

Our daughter was supposed to have this whole past week off since last Wednesday. But she got home that night and had to leave to work a fire camp (she is NOT a firefighter) with her crew on Sunday morning. The fire they are at is near Susanville and Eagle Lake. It is much smaller and not spreading as fast as the Carr fire. That one spread very rapidly overnight and has burned over 98,000 acres so far. The good news is that for now, it is 20% contained.

There have been five deaths that they know of. One was a firefighter, one was a bulldozer operator, and one was a great-grandmother with her two great-grandchildren. They were 4 and 5 years old. It was very tragic.

Somehow I have managed to keep working on my assignment but it feels slow-going now. I still think I will make my deadline, though, which is August 15th.

But I do not have any new artwork in the works at the moment. I probably won’t be starting any for another week or so. I just wanted you to know I didn’t fall off the face of the earth! And I will answer comments and questions on this post.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

TOY BOX TURTLE (Still in Progress)

Hello Friends,

Today I decided to work on my sea turtle that is painted onto one of the end pieces of our son’s toy box that I took apart. This is in acrylics which is definitely more of a challenge for me. I worked on it for a few hours today so that is enough!

The splotches of paint on the outer edges are on the masking tape I put around the sides to protect the wood frame. It will come off when I am done.

I have found that the nice thing about acrylics is that if you screw up (which I have done that a lot with this one,) you can paint over your mistakes to correct them! There is still a lot of “under painting” here. So the details are still to come. Plus, I’ll probably add some foliage around the turtle.  So here it is so far!

Night before last I wrote the first draft of my magazine article assignment. It felt good to finally just get all my notes into a rough draft. I still have other stuff to do to complete the assignment after I finish the article. But I am setting it aside for a few days to keep thinking on it. Also, I realized my due date is actually a week later than I thought it was. It isn’t due until August 15th! That made me happy!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

 

Great White Shark Pencil Drawing Started

Hello Friends,

This is the latest drawing I have started. There will be places where it will be a lot darker of course, but I thought I would share the beginning stage of it.

I also just sent off my assignment in my writing class. So now I wait for the instructor’s feedback and to tell me which of the three ideas I sent that she would like for me to write. I told her my top two picks so we will see what happens!

So for the rest of today I plan to work out among other things. Then my husband and I are going to a poetry reading group. We went several times last summer, and now they are starting again. It is only once a month, though.

This morning I received a warning message from a friend about a potential hacker on Facebook. This is what came to mind. Don’t know if I’ll read it tonight, but maybe! It is short and doesn’t have a title yet.

 

I’ve been hacked before,

Don’t need to be hacked anymore,

Leave me alone you hackers,

You must be a bunch of slackers.

By Patsy H. Parker

 

Lame, I know. Ha, ha!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

A Few Handy Tips for Creating Three-Dimensional Characters

Great Writing Thoughts!

The Persnickety Proofreader

I’ve been invited to give a talk (and conduct a workshop) about writing fiction at a local writers’ conference in Chattanooga on January 20. Over the years, from crafting my own fiction as well as editing other people’s manuscripts, I’ve learned a thing or three about creating realistic characters.

When writing fiction – whether your particular vehicle of choice is flash fiction, short stories or novel-length fiction – every author should keep some basic elements in mind, not the least of which is how to develop believable, three-dimensional characters.

Years ago, at a writing workshop I attended in Connecticut, our instructor led us through an exercise in creating detailed character profiles. The queries she posed ranged from our characters’ physical attributes to relationships with parents, and from childhood experiences to favorite and least-favorite things. Here are some of the items from that list:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Eye color/hair color

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